Laura Graves and Verdades. Photos copyright SusanJStickle.com.
Lisa Wilcox and Galant Capture PSG CDI1* Win
Wellington, FL – March 25, 2015 – The first half of the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* competition began today at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) with Team 1 of the USA leading the way after their overall performance in the FEI Prix St. Georges and the FEI Grand Prix classes. The team composed of Allison Brock, Kimberly Herslow, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz, and Laura Graves reached a total score of 223.304 for the first portion of the competition. The Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* will continue tomorrow with competition in the FEI Grand Prix Special for Large Tour pairs and the FEI Intermediaire-1 for Small Tour entries, after which the team medals will be awarded. Canada Team 1 currently sits in second place, while USA Team 2 is in third. The final week of AGDF, sponsored by Stillpoint Farm, Martha Jolicoeur and Maria Mendelsohn of Illustrated Properties, and Regal Horse Products, continues through Saturday, March 28.
Watch the test for Laura Graves and Verdades! Video courtesy of Campfield Videos.
USA Team 1 put in a dominant performance to handily take the lead in the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* after the FEI Prix St. Georges and FEI Grand Prix classes. The team, which is composed of two Large Tour combinations and two Small Tour pairs, performed spectacularly. Not a single member of Team 1 scored below a 70.000% overall. Chef d’Equipe for Team 1, Robert Dover, was thrilled with the performance of the team as a unit and the statement they made about the resurgence of dressage in the United States. “First of all I’m so proud of all of our American riders. They have made everyone so proud,” he said. “The riders themselves came to this arena to do a job, and they will continue to go on doing that job until the end of the competition. They showed why we are ready to be ranked among the best nations in the world.”
Laura Graves and Verdades put in another solid performance, giving them another great prep test for their FEI World Cup Finals debut in April. Verdades is becoming incredibly consistent at the Grand Prix level. Graves, who went last in the class as the team’s anchor rider, felt that their late ride time was to their advantage. “I like going last, especially when it’s hot like this and the class is at this point in the day I think it’s an advantage for us,” she remarked. “I’m so lucky to be on a team with three other women who are equals and incredible competitors. I’m really very proud to be a part of this team.”
As the pair has major international plans ahead of them, Graves hopes to remove all of the kinks from their routine now so that they can get the most out their performances. “We’re still green at this. Hopefully by the end of this year, which will be our second full year riding Grand Prix, I think we will be able to ride a bit more confidently,” she noted.
Allison Brock and Rosevelt had the second-highest score, just behind Graves in the Grand Prix, with another very stellar test from the young stallion. Brock has taken her time with Rosevelt, as he is very sensitive and reactive. “He got a little hot in the warm-up with some of the commotion, but he came back to me and I was just trying to gauge with the heat how much time I needed. I wanted to take a horse in that still had gas, but wasn’t too reactive. I think we did a good job feeling that out,” said Brock. “My goal was to go and have a really clean test and for the most part he was very honest, and he went for it. He was with me, and I’m really pleased with him.”
The first to go for Team USA, Olivia LaGoy-Weltz felt some pressure before leading off, but said that “Lono” made some great improvements and it was the most extravagant test, movement-wise, he has shown so far this season. “We did have a few uncharacteristic bobbles in the test, but he was still fabulous and continued to settle as the test went on, which is great to know that he is progressing to where he can do that,” she remarked.
Kimberly Herslow, who continues to search for the perfect warm-up routine with Rosmarin when the weather is hot, felt that considering the time the pair had to warm-up today, their test went very well. “We both tend to lose a little bit of focus in the heat because it’s hard to push for the max in that, but I’m really happy with how he went considering last time it was this hot, I couldn’t create power,” she remarked. “I don’t feel like we’re maxed out at all, and I am really happy with where we are. I know he has a lot more to give still and we’ll keep building off that.”
Kasey Perry and Goerklintgaards Dublet, members of USA Team 2 in Perry’s debut international team competition, impressed in the Prix St. Georges class scoring a 73.816% to lead that class. “Dublet” came in very hot to the test, but Perry rode beautifully to keep the talented gelding composed. “It is so comforting to be on a team when something like that happens because there are so many people around you, and it really calms your nerves,” she said. “Right when I went down the centerline though, I felt him check in with me, and I knew that I had his attention and we were good to go. He never missed a beat, and he was with me the entire time.”
For LaGoy-Weltz, Brock, and Perry, this is their first international team competition, and all three felt that the team environment changed not only their attitudes about the competition, but their mentality and focus. “You feel the pressure. You’re learning the process and wanting to do well for everyone else; that’s what makes it a team thing,” said LaGoy-Weltz. Graves, who has participated in team competition before, was quick to express her pride in being named to this specific team with her fellow competitors. She expressed, “(It’s great) being with my teammates in the barn all day and feeling like we’re all in this for the same reason, and we love our horses. Having such a strong team has shown what everyone is working towards and that we are growing the depth in our sport.”
Lisa Wilcox (USA) and Galant, a 2006 Belgian Warmblood gelding, topped the FEI Prix St. Georges CDI 1* class, presented by Regal Horse Products, with a score of 69.868%. Diane Creech (CAN) and Diana C followed in second receiving a 69.368%, and Mary Rollins (USA) aboard Royal Prinz was third with 68.553%.
Wilcox, who has been steadily improving aboard the fiery chestnut gelding all season, was thrilled with their performance in the first class of Small Tour competition this week. They were the first to go in the large class, meaning they led from start to finish. “The early bird gets the worm, as they say. It’s cooler and when you feel the temperature now, during the day, there are advantages to going early. It was helpful for us this morning,” she remarked. “I was really happy with him. We’ve been going through a phase where he’s almost too light. He was wonderful, and we’re at a great point in our development.”
Wilcox and Galant have had success at AGDF before as they took home wins in the FEI Prix St. Georges and FEI Intermediaire-1 last year, but this was their first CDI win so far in 2015. “We’ve had him since he was four, and he’s nine now so it has been a real journey. The development between him and me and the amount of trust we have in our relationship is immense. He’s very horse shy, and things that we would find difficult in the past have greatly improved this season,” said Wilcox. “I’ve seen so much growth in him this year alone, and I have noticed that I can keep his focus and the relationship between the two of us has really been built upon.”
Galant, who is a typically nervous horse, has truly settled for Wilcox in the warm-up and as a result, in the ring, which is why she feels their improvement has been so consistent this season. “I always felt like I had to choreograph my warm-up to what other horses in the ring were doing because he would get nervous when he felt his space was being invaded,” she explained. “The best thing for him and for us was to get out and do it this season and constantly feel surrounded by it. He finally, at some point, just let go and even though it’s still there, it’s manageable and that’s been a huge turning point for us.”
Competition at AGDF continues through Saturday March 28. Team medals will be awarded on Thursday evening, and the finale of the Stillpoint Farm FEI Nations Cup CDIO3* will be individual medals following the freestyle classes on Friday evening. FEI CDI3* and CDI1* competition continue through the week for the conclusion of the 2015 AGDF circuit. For more information and full results from the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival, please visit www.globaldressagefestival.com.
About the Adequan Global Dressage Festival:
The Adequan Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) is one of the world’s largest international and national dressage circuits featuring 7 FEI Dressage events, including a 5* and the only FEI Nations’ Cup Series CDIO in the Western Hemisphere. The AGDF offers more than $650,000 in prize money for the seven international competitions, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. The Stadium at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center facility includes the Van Kampen covered arena (made possible by Kimberly and Frederic Boyer and family) and four outdoor arenas with world-class footing, 200 permanent stalls, and a VIP seating area.
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